This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ohio U chapter.
“Take me out to the ball game! Take me out to the crowd!” But what comes next? After getting your peanuts and cracker jacks, you’re most likely to take a seat in the stands, but do you know on which side you’re sitting? The batter didn’t hit the ball, why is he jogging to first base? Is that a home run or a grand slam? Why can the infielders tag the bag and get an out sometimes, but other times they have to tag the person?
The rules of baseball can be confusing, but I’m here to help get you in the game!
Major League Baseball fields are set up very similar to each other because of regulations. This diagram is one of the easiest ways to describe and picture a field. They are also called a diamond (unfortunately, not the type that goes on your finger).
There are 9 innings in MLB with each inning consisting of both teams being at bat.
There is a 7th inning stretch (extra time in between the 7th and 8th inning where you stand up, stretch, and most likely belt out those wonderful, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” lyrics).
The away team bats first and the home team takes the field first.
A strike is where a batter swings and misses the ball, doesn’t swing on a good pitch (this varies with the umpires eyes), or hits the ball over the foul line. Exception: If a player hits the ball over the foul line multiple times, only the first two are counted as strikes. 3 strikes and you’re out.
A ball (not the actually baseball) is when a pitcher throws the ball to unreachable areas of the plate, such as too high, too low, too close, or too far. There are 4 balls allowed before the batter gets to automatically walk to first base.
A ball caught before it hits the ground is an automatic out, and that also counts for foul balls.
“Full count” is 3 balls and 2 strikes.
A bunt is a purposeful short hit to help runners move bases.
The infield consists of 6 players:
Pitcher (the one always throwing the ball)
Catcher (the one who risks his life to catch the ball)
First baseman (stands near first base and has to have a great catching ability)
Second baseman (stands a bit behind the second base line)
Short stop (one of the quickest throwers and stands behind the third base line)
Third baseman (one of the quickest and best arms and stands near third base)
The outfield consists of 3 players:
Right field (takes over the grass between first and second base)
Center field (plays farthest back directly behind second base and surrounding area)
Left field (covers the grass between second and third base)
A dugout is where the players congregate and relax in between innings and at bats.
When an umpire calls “Safe!” it means that the player is allowed to stay on the plate. When the umpire calls “Out!” the player must return to the dugout.
A home run is where a player makes it around all bases and scores a run for the team.
A grand slam is when a player hits a home run with all three bases occupied by runners. All players make it in, equally 4 new runs.
A player can tag another player out by touching the base only if it is first base or the bases previous to the base are filled with runners.
Example: First and second base are loaded, so the third baseman can simply tag third base to get the runner heading there out.
If there is no one behind a runner, then that player must be physically tagged in order to be out. Example: Second base is holding a runner, but first base is empty. The second base runner has to be touched running to third to be out.
While there are many other important rules of the game, the basics are best to remember. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or look up what you don’t know. So, Collegietes and new baseball fans, I hope your knowledge of the game has blossomed! Now go out there and catch some cuties with your skills!